Tuesday, February 06, 2007 | In a mayoral race focused intensely on city finances and personal independence, the campaign contributions funneled into candidate accounts in the first month of the campaign provide an insight into who wants which candidate in office, and how badly.

And the breakdown is fairly simple. Environmentalists, teachers and activists put their money with Councilwoman Donna Frye. The usual batch of downtown influentials and the law enforcement community have thrown their support behind former police chief Jerry Sanders, while the superrich CEOs like the superrich CEO Steve Francis.

None of the other 11 candidates made much of a splash in the fundraising department. For example, Harley-Davidson dealer Myke Shelby reported raising $100,250. Of that total, he loaned himself $100,000 and received one $250 contribution from a retired guy in Pasadena.

According to statements on file this week at the City Clerk’s Office:

— Frye, the populist councilwoman, raised $74,669.08 as of the June 11 reporting deadline. Her financial backers fall in line with what would be expected from a grassroots environmentalist: an Ocean Beach physician, college professors, environmentalists, teachers and activists.

The names include the Sierra Club’s Eric Bowlby, Norma Damashek of the League of Women Voters, outspoken former county Supervisor Lou Conde and Steven Schanes, the former head of the U.S. Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp.

The early frontrunner in this abridged special election season, Frye controls a lead in all early polls — despite the fact that she’s barely spent any of her money. Of the nearly $75,000 raised, the councilwoman has spent only $19,304.

But her spending is likely to increase shortly, as an e-mail from her campaign to supporters Thursday announced that lawn signs will be available this weekend.

— Sanders was the quickest to the draw in the yard sign department, as any cruise through residential San Diego shows. His campaign also used news Internet sites frequently, paying $1,500 for banner ads to The Daily Transcript and $7,000 to the Web site of The San Diego Union-Tribune.

In sum, Sanders brought in $106,050 from a mix of constituencies, spending a total of $80,487.44 as of the June 11 filing deadline. In that timeframe, he experienced a significant increase in his polling numbers.

Most notably, his campaign statements show the support of the politically entrenched, with a smattering of contributions from the government contacts at such large corporate players as Cox Communications, San Diego Gas and Electric, Sempra Energy and the Cloud 9 shuttle service.

Lobbyists, real estate professionals, developers and public relations folk also count themselves as Sanders campaign supporters. For example, long-time City Hall lobbyists Nikki Clay and Mike McDade contributed funds to the Sanders effort.

He also enjoys the support of a number of fellow government-types, such as Joe Craver, the chairman of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority; Geoff Patnoe, chief of staff to county Supervisor Dianne Jacob;  former councilman Byron Wear; and William Gore, assistant sheriff for the county of San Diego.

Sanders received campaign contributions from a number of people tied to the 1996 pension deal that began the city’s historic underfunding of its pension system — a deal that sits at the foundation of San Diego’s multibillion dollar pension deficit and several ongoing local and federal investigations.

Former City Manager Jack McGrory and former Assistant City Attorney John Kaheny both gave to Sanders, as did a former pension board reprentative for the San Diego Police Officers Association, Keith Enerson. All three were singled out in a report earlier this week by City Attorney Mike Aguirre for their roles in the city’s 1996 pension dealings, which Aguirre alleged to be an illegal fraud. Sanders also received the financial support of two employees of the San Diego City Employees’ Retirement System.

Sanders, a moderate Republican, reported the support of some Democrats as well, such as Midge Costanza, former aide to President Carter; Neil Senturia, husband of Voice of San Diego editor in chief Barbara Bry; and Murray Galinson, chairman of the California State University system.

Sanders’ campaign manager, Scott Maloni, and his media manager, Bob Cerasoli, both contributed to the campaign, while also drawing paychecks from it.

— Anyone watching Padres games on television the last couple weeks has probably become more familiar with the mug of mayoral candidate Steve Francis than that of veteran closer Trevor Hoffmann.

Francis, a wealthy business executive, dumped $750,000 of his own cash into his campaign in the first month of its existence, according to campaign filings. More than $455,000 of that went to television stations for a commercial that commanded local airwaves for nearly two weeks this month.

To date, Francis has been heavy in the wallet and light in substance in public appearances and debates. But he generated a lot of buzz amongst San Diego’s elite, who decided to throw in an additional $74,990 into his robust election barrel.

Francis lists as campaign donors 25 CEOs, CFOs and COOs; 14 corporate presidents and a long list of vice presidents, executives, executive vice presidents, chairmen, directors, managing directors, owners and managing partners.

Counted among Francis supporters: hotelier Doug Manchester and many of his immediate family members and employees; and executives from Evans Hotels, the Corky McMillin Cos., Francis’ own AMN Healthcare Inc., and a throng of big names in the biotech community.

In total, developers and hospitality executives dominate Francis’ donor list.

But at least one Francis contributor seemed to be just your average working stiff. George H. Petit — a student intern who is from Columbia, S.C., and employed by La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla — also pitched in $300. Then again, so did Michael Ullman, La Valencia’s managing director.

— The others: Attorney Pat Shea, who jumped into the race at the last second, reported one contribution in all, a $100 donation from his campaign treasurer. Anti-tax activist Richard Rider reported a total of $120,000, $100,000 of which he personally loaned to the campaign.

Any contribution that totals at least $100 must be reported, and the maximum contribution is $300.

Consulting fees. A breakdown of what each candidate reporting paying in consulting fees:

— Frye: $295.

— Sanders: $20,211.25

— Francis: $99,119.04

— Shea: His consultant, Cynthia Vicknair, is working for free through the primary, she says, to atone for her work in getting outgoing Mayor Dick Murphy elected.

— Shelby: $4,633.25

Eco-friendly hedges. Michael Turk, the president of eco-friendly KD Development two weeks ago co-starred in a press conference with Frye extolling the benefits of solar energy and Frye’s efforts to make San Diego an industry headquarters.

As could be expected, Turk, his wife Karen, and son Mike Jr., each gave the $300 maximum donation to Frye’s campaign. But, the trio gave the same amounts to the Sanders campaign, as well.

— Compiled by ANDREW DONOHUE, Voice Political Writer

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